Rani ki Vav bagged the title of “Cleanest Iconic Place” in India at the Indian Sanitation Conference (INDOSAN) 2016 in New Delhi in October 2016. The monument was felicitated at the conference, inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Patan was established by the Chapotkata ruler Vanaraja in 8th century as “Anahilapataka”. During 10th-13th century, the city served as the capital of the Chaulukyas, who supplanted the Chapotkatas. Historian Tertius Chandler estimates that Anhilwara (Patan is built on this ancient city) was the tenth-largest city in the world in the year 1000, with a population of approximately 100,000.
Coin of the Chaulukyas of Anahillapataka (Patan), King Kumarapala, c. 1145 – c. 1171.
Muhammed’s general and later Sultan of Delhi Qutb-ud-din Aybak sacked the city between 1200 and 1210, and it was destroyed by the Allauddin Khilji in 1298. The modern town of Patan later sprung up near the ruins of Anhilwara. During 1304 to 1411, first Patan was the Suba headquarter of Delhi Sultanate and capital city of the Gujarat Sultanate after the collapse of the Delhi Sultanate at the end of the 14th century. A new fort was built by these Subas, a large portion of which (along with a few of the gates) is still intact. The old fort of the Hindu kingdom is nearly vanquished and only a wall can be seen on the way from Kalka to Rani ki vav. In 1411, Sultan Ahmed Shah moved the capital to Ahmedabad.
Patan was part of the Baroda state from the mid-18th century until India’s independence in 1947, when Baroda became part of Bombay state, which in 1960 was separated into Gujarat and Maharashtra
Inside Rani ki vav.
Rani ki vav, or Ran-ki vav (Queen’s step well) was constructed during the rule of the Chaulukya dynasty. It is generally assumed that it was built in the memory of Bhima I (r. c. 1022–1064) by his widowed queen Udayamati and probably completed by Udayamati and Karna after his death. A reference to Udayamati building the monument is in Prabandha Chintamani, composed by the Jain monk Merunga Suri in 1304 AD.
The stepwell was later flooded by the nearby Saraswati River and silted over until the late 1980s. When it was excavated by the Archaeological Survey of India, the carvings were found in pristine condition.
This magnificent east-facing step well measures approximately 64 m long, 20 m wide & 27 m deep. A stepped corridor compartmented at regular intervals pillared multistory pavilions is a unique feature. It was one of the largest and the most sumptuous structures of its type. It became silted up and much of it is not visible now, except for some rows of sculptured panels in the circular part of the well. Among its ruins one pillar still stands which is an excellent example of this period of design. A part only of the west well is extant from which it appears that the wall had been built of brick and faced with stone. From this wall project vertical brackets in pairs, which supported the different galleries of the well shaft proper. The bracketing is arranged in tiers and is richly carved. The minute and exquisite carving of this vav is one of the finest specimens of its kind. Befitting its name, the Rani-Ki-Vav is now considered to be the queen among step wells of India.
There is also a small gate below the last step of the step well, with a 30-kilometre tunnel, currently blocked by stones and mud, which leads to the town of Sidhpur near Patan. It was used as an escape gateway for the king, who built the step well in the times of defeat.
Ornate side walls
Vishnu sculpture inside Rani ki Vav
Most of the sculptures are in devotion to Vishnu, in the forms of Dus-Avatars Kalki, Rama, Krishna, Narsinh, Vaman, Varahi and others representing their return to the world. Nagkanya, Yogini beautiful women – Apsara showcasing 16 different styles of make-up to look more attractive called Solah-shringar.
Around 50–60 years back there were ayurvedic plants around this area, and the water accumulated in Rani ki vav was considered to be helpful for viral disease, fever etc.
The vavs of Gujarat are not merely sites for collecting water and socializing, but also hold great spiritual significance. Originally, the vavs of Gujarat were constructed quite simply, but became more intricate over the years, perhaps to make explicit the ancient concept of the sanctity of water with the addition of carved stone deities. Thus visitors enter Rani Ki Vav as if it is an inverted temple, where one steps down various levels to the water.
The steps begin at ground level, leading you down through the cool air through several pillared pavilions to reach the deep well below. There are more than 800 elaborate sculptures among seven galleries. The central theme is the Dasavataras, or ten incarnations of Vishnu, including Buddha. The avatars are accompanied by sadhus, Brahmins, and apsaras (celestial dancers), painting their lips and adorning themselves. At water level you come to a carving of Sheshashayi-Vishnu, in which Vishnu reclines on the thousand-hooded serpent Shesha, where it is said he rests in the infinity between ages.
On July 19, 2018 Reserve Bank of India announced that the new ₹100 note in the Mahatma Gandhi New Series, will feature Rani ki Vav on the rear side of the note which is going to be in Lavender Colour, with dimensions of 66mm×142mm smaller than the previous notes (73mm×157mm)
The patola sari is one of the finest hand-woven sarees produced today. This is a specialty of Patan. It is famous for extremely delicate patterns woven with great precision and clarity. A patola sari takes 4 to 6 months to make, depending on how complicated the designs is and if the length is 5 or 6 metres. This saris are totally colored with vegetable colors. Costs start from Rs. 20,000 which may go up to Rs. 20,00,000 even depending on the difficulty of work as many times gold threads are included during its weaving process.
There are only two families making patola saris. They don’t teach this art to other family members. Only their sons are eligible to learn.
Salvivad, a place where patolas are woven along with places where traditional clay toys are made are worth visiting. Many annual religious fairs act as tourist destination
Remains of the walls of new fort.
There are many tourist attractions including forts, vavs (step wells), talavs (lakes) and places of worship. The main tourist attractions are the Rani ki vav (World Heritage Site) and patola saris.
The remains of Old City of Patan are a very small portion of Old Fort near Kalka on the outskirts of the New City is of historical and archeological importance. So is the case with the remains of the walls of new fort and the Darwajas (gates) of the new fort which are fast disappearing. The administration and a majority of local people show little interest in preserving these heritage places which are shrinking at a rapid pace. The inner fort of Bhadra with its Darwajas is preserved well.
Step wells include Rani ki vav and Trikam Barot ni Vav. Lakes include historically and archaeologically important Sahastralinga Tank, Anand Sarovar (Gungadi Talav) and Khan Sarovar.
12 Darwajas (Gates)
Bagwada, Chhidiya, Mira, Aghara, Kothakooe, Phatipaal (Fatipal), Ghoonghdi, Kanasda (also known as Kalika), Khansarovar, Motishah, Bhathi, Lal, 12th is door and 1 window (in middle of city is called Ganesh Bari).
Rani ki vav is an intricately constructed stepwell situated in the town of Patan in Gujarat, India. It is located on the banks of Saraswati River. Rani ki vav was built as a memorial to an 11th-century king Bhima I. It was added to the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites on 22 June 2014. Stepwells are a distinctive form of subterranean water resource and storage systems on the Indian subcontinent, and have been constructed since the third millennium BC. Rani ki vav was built in the complex Maru-Gurjara architectural style with an inverted temple and seven levels of stairs and holds more than 500 principal sculptures.